I have been thinking a lot about IQ lately. Just as there are differences in the memory and processing speeds of computers, the same can be said about human brains. The more I think about it, the more I firmly believe that all of the major differences we observe in the human population are tethered back to the brains involved. This may sound overly simplistic, but the reason why some people generally get ahead in life or are greeted with more respect or make more money is due to the capacity of their brain. Everything comes back to the brains involved. Even social behavior and acting in a socially desirable fashion is linked to IQ. There are exceptions to this rule, but I like to focus on generalities because they are much more predictable.
Smart people can find clever, ingenious strategies to secure and grow wealth. Smart people are more likely to invent things or design companies/businesses that provide in-demand products and services. Individuals with higher IQ’s are more likely to become mathematicians, engineers, physicists and doctors—professions that involve subject matter that is exhaustive, complex, and endlessly changing. These individuals’ minds can handle such operations while people with lower IQ’s are more suited for simple jobs, like being a cashier or a janitor. This said, individuals with average or lower IQ’s can use their creativity to produce art, write books or create businesses that might also be just as financially rewarding.
Another thing about smart individuals is that they are more likely to defer gratification to a later date. Instead of grab the small reward now (E.G. Marshmallow Test), they are willing to wait for the bigger reward later. We can see this with doctors. It takes years, at the very least 12-13 just to become a doctor. Many doctors may have the temptation to quit anywhere along the line of pre-med, medical school, a taxing residency and fellowship to get a more easily achievable job offering them money right now. A doctor not only had to be innately smart to comprehend and use an incredible amount of knowledge, but he/she had to also defer their gratification as they made their way down the long path of education.
Unfortunately, smart individuals are scarce in our world but this is precisely what makes their value go up. This is especially true in a “free market” or “freer market” society—compared to those societies that are less so. These smart folks can demand more for their time. We, as a society, value areas of expertise (or products, created with such expertise and innate intelligence) because we all benefit.
Smart people are more ready and able to efficiently unlock the mysteries of the world, unveiling useful knowledge to the rest of us. Everyone benefits. Intelligent people provide immense value to a technologically advancing population. They figure things out more quickly and they can then offer their products or services on the market more cheaply than an individual who wasn’t as smart in the creation of their product.
Another way I like to think about intelligence is like this: If you have a better computer you have access to more information (either stored on your computer’s hard drive or on the internet) more quickly. This becomes increasingly important in a technologically advanced society—one where the speed and accuracy of information acquisition is crucial.
In the same way, a better brain in terms of memory and processing speed is going to be crucial in a technologically advanced society. Why is a brain with a higher IQ so much better you ask? It is better on a fundamental level because so much more can be done with it. The reason why Galileo and Newton discovered arcane properties of the universe was precisely because of the superior properties of their brains (at least compared to other contemporary brains that surrounded them). We revel in their accomplishments—these leaps of understanding they brought to human civilization. Really though, we must consider the kinds of unique brains they were beholden with in order to tap into the wonders of the cosmos ourselves.
Future technologies may be based on the underlying circuitry of “intelligent brains” and offer this asset to all of us. Products and services will be designed to assist with “mental enhancement”. I look forward to a bright future with increased time to enjoy life. The only way this is going to happen is if we continue forward with a society that pushes and motivates as MANY bright individuals AS POSSIBLE to contribute their skills and innovations and rewards them abundantly for doing so.